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Aug 5, 2008 01:00 PM

Salad that is a big hit

I threw two dinner parties on the weekend and made this salad recipe that is fast becoming my BF and my extended family favourite request. It was a HUGE hit on the weekend with my guests..go figure because I am not a "salad" person at all.

I thought I would share the recipe. The dressing will keep up to 1.5 weeks. I have also doubled this recipe.

Basil Essence Vinagrette:
4 T each extra virgin olive oil and vegetable/canola oil
2 T each red wine and balsamic vinagar
1 clove garlic minced finely
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 T basil paste or 1 cup fresh basil leaves pureed into dressing...this is the key ingredient

Whisk or blend until throughly mixed.

To my lettuce, any type, I add roasted almonds, feta and shredded mozerrella and either fresh lean procuitto or crispy toasted pancetta.

If I do a "fancy" take on the salad I do goat cheese discs (goat cheese discs dipped in egg, coated with breadcrumbs and fried for 2 mins) as well as a full piece of pancetta.

My friend is now doing it with grilled chicken.

Anyhow the basis of the salad is the dressing and it's lower in fat the Ranch or creamy Greek I usually like to use.



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  1. The dressing sounds really good! Thanks for sharing your recipe.

    1. This dressing does sound great. I'm not familiar with basil paste, is it something readily available in the store? Thanks for sharing!

      6 Replies
      1. re: Axalady

        basil paste = basil pesto
        am I correct?

        1. re: laliz

          the recipe says just basil, pureed. in addition to basil (typically), pesto has oil, cheese, pine nuts and garlic.

          1. re: alkapal

            I found Amore Pesto Paste in Kitchen & Co today - the list of ingredients is basil, sunflower oil, olive oil, salt, pine nuts, garlic and citric acid. C, is this what you're using?

            1. re: Axalady

              probably this paste:

              not pesto. the op said "paste" or just puree some basil. not that the pesto wouldn't be ok, just a different taste profile than pure basil.

                1. re: Axalady

                  i actually have the same pastes of cilantro and lemongrass. they taste nowhere near the fresh, but would perk up some pre-prepared dish (frozen, jarred, etc.) when you haul 'em out of the fridge and give a quick squeeze!.

      2. That's a 1:2 ratio of vinegar to oil? Wow, that's a lot of vinegar. It sounds less like a dressing and more like a marinade.

        Ranch? Really?

        1. Yum, thank you - I was looking for something different to do with my basil plant. I'm using it in everything but this dressing sounds wonderful.

          2 Replies
          1. re: lexpatti

            Sorry I have not replied earlier. In Toronto you can buy frozen basil that is pureed into a paste and frozen in cubes. I have heard from my friends in the US that you can buy paste in a tube. If I get ambitious at the end of a summer I take my basil, puree with a tiny bit of olive oil and then freeze in cube. I pop 1-2 into dressing. It may seem like a lot of vinagar but it's good.

            I encourage people to do variations on dressing at it suits you.


            1. re: ciaociao1

              I typically make vinaigrette with far more vinegar than oil ... it tastes so much better that way (if you're using great balsamic), and so many fewer calories too ... so far the Salad Dressing Police haven't been by.